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Pitaya ( Dragon Fruits)

Their odd shape might shock you at first, due to their spiky appearance but they are very tasty. The fruit has a soft sweetness to it and the seeds are edible as well. These fruits can be found in South America, but mostly in the Ecuador)
Pitahaya-producing cacti of the genus Hylocereus are originally native to Mexico, and they were also transplanted to Central America and to other parts of the world. Currently, they are also cultivated in East Asian and Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia and more recently Bangladesh

Pitaya


Health Benefits
•    This fruit contains anti-inflammatory properties that are ideal in fighting off arthritis symptoms.
•    The high quantities of fiber found in pitaya stabilize the blood sugar levels. Diabetes can enjoy this fruit and not worry about high blood sugar levels.
•    If you want to prevent your skin from aging, eating pitaya will guarantee you a healthy and toned skin. The antioxidants are “trained” to fight the free radicals that are the main culprits for damaging your cells.




Acai

This fruit is packed with antioxidants. It is normally frozen and served in cooling drinks all over the golden beaches of Brazil. The taste resembles that of a grape. This delicious berry is not easy to find in local markets and grocery shops, however you can buy it in a frozen state in US cities and of course in Brazil, the place it originated.
Acai berries are the new kid on the super food block. The berries are ingredients in cosmetics, beauty products, and diet pills, with manufacturers and marketers extolling their various health benefits everywhere you look.

Acai fruit


Health Benefits
•    Looking to loose a few pounds? The fruit’s pulp neutralizes the effects of any diet high in fats. Consumed daily and combined with a healthy lifestyle, you will reach your goal weight  in no time.
•    It boosts the energy levels and is a great “weapon” against fatigue. A handful of these juicy berries are all you need to pump some energy in your system.




Guavas

The fruits can be found in Mexico and Caribbean , but also in Brazil. When you first see guavas, you can clearly see a resemble with watermelons. It can be found in the color green and the inside is red. At a first sniff, you will think that you are holding a bunch of lemons. It is also loaded with vitamin C.
In Mexico, the guava agua fresca beverage is popular. The entire fruit is a key ingredient in punch, and the juice is often used in culinary sauces (hot or cold), as well as artisan candies, dried snacks, fruit bars, desserts, or dipped in Chamoy. Pulque de Guava is a popular blend of the native alcoholic beverage.

 

Guavas


In many countries, guava is eaten raw, typically cut into quarters or eaten like an apple, whereas in other countries it's eaten with a pinch of salt and pepper, cayenne powder or a mix of spices (masala). It is known as the winter national fruit of Pakistan. In the Philippines, ripe guava is used in cooking sinigang. Guava is a popular snack in Taiwan, sold on many street corners and night markets during hot weather, accompanied by packets of dried plum powder mixed with sugar and salt for dipping. In east Asia, guava is commonly eaten with sweet and sour dried plum powder mixtures. Guava juice is popular in many countries. The fruit is also often prepared in fruit salads

Health Benefits
•    Flavonoid agents along with other minerals are part of this fruit. All of these compounds help prevent diseases like cancer or help improve one’s energy levels.
•    B vitamins along with copper, vitamin E and vitamin A all work toghter in keeping the body healthy and strong and protecting it against free radicals.  
 


Tamarillo

Tamarillo or tree tomato can be found in Chile, Peru and it is also grown in New Zeeland. This is a delicacy eaten raw or cooked. The name reveals the taste- a strong tomato flavor, so don’t act surprise when you take a bit of this fruit. It is best known as the species that bears the tamarillo, an egg-shaped edible fruit.

 

Tamarillos


Health benefits

•    A fruit boosting with vitamin A and plenty of carotenes. The antioxidant strength that lies deep within this fruits, helps improve one’s eyesight and is great for the overall skin appearance.
•    Flavonoids- high levels of which are found in this fruit can protect one’s teeth and prevent cancer , especially lung cancer.
•    Its high potassium levels are the primary compound that the body needs in order to control heart rates.




Cashew Fruit

Although this is also referred to as a nut, there is more than meets the eye. Ripe cashew fruits are very tasty, due juicy interior.  
While the cashew plant is native to northeast Brazil, the Portuguese took it to Goa, India, between 1560 and 1565. From there it spread throughout Southeast Asia and eventually Africa.
The flowers are produced in a panicle or corymb up to 26 cm long; each flower is small, pale green at first, then turning reddish, with five slender, acute petals 7 to 15 mm long. The largest cashew tree in the world covers an area of about 7,500 square metres (81,000 sq ft); it's located in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, and Philippines
In Brazil, you can find freshly squeezed juice from these fruits, so make sure you order one the next time you visit Brazil.

 

Cashew


Health Benefits
•    These fruits are great for cardiacs due to their high content of acids which help lower “bad” cholesterol levels.
•    Packed with minerals including iron, zinc, magnesium and selenium. Snaking on a few cashew fruits a day will keep you safe from illnesses.
•    Great for vision: they contain zea-xanthin- a strong antioxidant that offers protection from harmful UV rays and fight off eye diseases like ARMD ( short for age-related macular degeneration)




Annona reticulata - custard apple

Annona reticulata is a small deciduous or semi-evergreen tree in the plant family Annonaceae. It is best known for its fruit, called custard apple, a common name it shares with fruits of several other species in the same genus: A. cherimola and A. squamosa  or sometimes it is called wild-sweetsop, bull's heart, bullock's-heart, or ox-heart. The flavor of the fruit is sweet and pleasant, but less popular than that of A. cherimola.

Custard Apples are a sub-tropical deciduous tree belonging to the Annonaceae family. This family contains over 2000 members spread throughout the world. Of this family, it is the atemeoya, a hybrid of the Annona genus, that Australia's commercial cultivars derive from.


Custard Apple trees are large and spreading, shaded by large, green drooping leaves. The tree sets many light yellow trumpet shaped flowers that emit a pungent, sweet smell especially in the late afternoon when the male pollen sacks burst open. Of these flowers, only a small number will set fruit.
The Fruit takes between 20 and 25 weeks to reach maturity in sub-tropical climates where the days are not too warm and the nights not too cool.


Possibly a native of the Caribbean and Central America, Annona reticulata is now pantropical and can be found growing between altitudes of 0 metres (0 ft) to 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) in areas of Central America that have alternating seasons. It is cultivated in many tropical countries, and also occurs as feral populations in many parts of the world, including Southeast Asia, Taiwan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Australia, and Africa.
Cultivated and naturalized in many parts of the world including Southeast Asia, Taiwan, India (Bengali - Ata, Nona; Hindi - Ramphal), Australia, and West Africa.

Native
Central Mexico: Veracruz
Central America: Belize, Chiapas, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama
Caribbean: Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Jamaica, Cuba
Northern South America: Guyana, Venezuela
Brazil: Acre, Amazonas, Bahia, Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais, Para, Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo
Western South America: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Paraguay

custard apple

 


Health Benefits

•   The ill-smelling leaves are deciduous, alternate, oblong or narrow-lanceolate. Edible and palatable fruit eaten out-of-hand. A decoction of the leaf is given as a vermifuge.
•    Crushed leaves or a paste of the flesh may be poulticed on boils, abscesses and ulcers.
•    The unripe fruit is rich in tannin It is dried, pulverized and employed against diarrhea and dysentery.
•   The bark is very astringent and the decoction is taken as a tonic and also as a remedy for diarrhea and dysentery.
•    Custard apple is a storehouse of  Vitamin C, which is an anti-oxidant and helps in neutralizing free radicals.
•    Vitamin A present in the fruit is good for hair, eyes and healthy skin.
•  Custard apple contains magnesium, which plays vital role in relaxing muscles and protecting heart against diseases.
•    Potassium and Vitamin B6 are also present in custard apple.
•    Copper is yet another useful ingredient of custard apple.
•    It is a rich source of dietary fiber, which helps in digestion.
•    As it contains low fat levels, it is good for maintaining optimum health.
•    The paste of the flesh of the fruit can be used for local application on ulcers, abscesses and boils.
•    The fruit, in its unripe form, can be dried, crushed and used for treating diarrhea and dysentery.
•    Custard apple serves as an expectorant, stimulant, coolant and haematinic and is even useful in treating anemia.
•    The seeds of the fruit have insecticidal and abortifacient properties.

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Sources:

http://www.bootsnall.com/articles/09-08/15-latin-american-fruits-to-surprise-your-palate.html
http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/amazing-benefits-of-dragon-fruit/
http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/benefits-of-acai/
http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/tamarillo.html
http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/guava.html
http://dietpill-reviews.co.uk/acai-berries/do-they-work-and-side-effects
http://www.proverbrasil.com.br/products/acai-powder.html
https://www.flickr.com/photos/monaviecorp/4679707422/
http://ethancrowley.com/?attachment_id=561
http://www.custardapple.com.au/Info-Pages/the-custard-apple.html
http://www.naturalfoodbenefits.com/display.asp?CAT=1&ID=131
http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?3498
https://www.flickr.com/search/?q=annona%20reticulata&w=all
http://wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/
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